Some songs are timeless. We can all think of songs that fit every era, every life event. Tear jerkers and kids’ songs, thought provokers and rally cries. But what about lyrics that were written about the people and issues of the author’s time – then put away, never to be seen until almost a century later, when a band pulled them out of the archive and were floored by how vividly those lyrics describe the news of their day?
There’s an answer to that question – and it’s contained on This Machine Still Kills Fascists. In the 10 songs that make up this album, Dropkick Murphys bring Woody Guthrie’s perennial jabs at life – many of which are from the 1940s and ‘50s – into the time of their lives. The resulting music is eerily relevant to today’s world. And they’ve done it all without their usual arsenal of electric guitars. In fact, not a single amplifier was used to animate Woody’s words in these songs.
But make no mistake: this is NOT your grandfather's folk album. DKM harnessed all of their trademark power to craft these songs and bring Woody’s lyrics to life.
Woody Guthrie wrote songs from the heart and for the common person. He made a point of showing up when it counted most, often performing at fundraisers, benefits, and rallies to champion working class causes and condemn greed, war, and unchecked capitalism – all with his guitar in hand.
This is exactly where Woody Guthrie and Dropkick Murphys intersect. Dropkick Murphys’ entire ethos of family, community, service, and action depends upon honest reporting in their music. Like Woody, showing up in real life is what makes their songs so impactful. They just are who they say they are. Whether it’s standing up to Nazi thugs or standing with working men and women on a picket line, showing up is what holds the center in DKM’s world.
As Woody once said: “A folk song is what's wrong and how to fix it, or it could be who’s hungry and where their mouth is, or who’s out of work and where the job is, or who’s broke and where the money is, or who’s carrying a gun and where the peace is.” In both song and deed, Dropkick Murphys have always held true to this same view.
That’s no coincidence, explains Dropkick Murphys founder Ken Casey: “Woody Guthrie, he’s the original punk. He went against the grain, he fought the good fight, he spoke up and sang about his beliefs. I’m motivated by reading what he wrote and am inspired by his courage. One man and a guitar – it’s powerful stuff.”
The album title itself pays homage to the powerful message Woody Guthrie began painting on his guitars in the early 1940s, in the midst of World War II: “THIS MACHINE KILLS FASCISTS.” A man and a credo laid bare – on the face of his guitar. Again, Woody was the original punk rocker.